Went from this,
over a period of 3 years by getting off my backside, losing around 5 stone in weight and giving up smoking.
great to follow your progress. I am 36 and I have been running for one and half years.VLM 3.03, 10miles 61mins, 10k 36.30mins and feel i am improving.I have a schedual to work through thats ok approx 35 to 60 mpw, should i run bath half and or reading half?They are both in march when i should be doing 20 milers on the weekend? Any thoughts would be great thanks JK
I’m a bit biased as my PB is from Bath but I do think it’s a faster course than Reading. Both are far enough out from London (assuming that’s what you are targeting) that you could race them flat out and not impact your marathon but it all depends on what you want.
If you have clocked up enough 20 milers in the campaign and dropping one won’t be a problem then go for it, I like to try and race one half flat out in the build up to try and get a judge for where I am. The other option is to treat the half as a training run and run it at marathon pace with some easy miles either side to make up a 20 miler. What I personally wouldn’t do is race the half flat out and also try and make it up to 20 with miles either side, those extra miles will just become a recovery jog.
You could always race one flat out and use the other as a marathon pace training run, although finding a 20 mile race like Bramley (which is on the same day as Reading I believe) might be a better option for the training run.
Thanks for this, I think I may see you at Bath then. Just one more thing would you train just the same with no rest/no mini taper etc before Bath?
If I’m using it as my one flat out race in the marathon build and using it as a judge of where I am then I will do a “mini taper” starting from the Wednesday so that I’ve got a chance of a good performance. I’m still not certain if Bath will be in my plans this year now as it depends how much fitness has returned – I might be better off doing a 20 miler instead seeing as I’m playing catchup!
Good luck with whatever you go for
Hi Steve, great to see you back on track. I see you down for Bramley on the 20th which is great. Will you cut down your long run this weekend or cut down on the tempo? You mentioned before about a mini taper but just thought you may go easy at the weekend. Again just trying to feed off your exprience as I am at Bramley too.Thanks again jk
I’m planning on using Bramley to run one of my 2 key sessions that week so won’t actually be racing it. That means no taper but I will only be easy running the 2 days before as it is a tough session ( See my latest post for details)
Say hello if you see me there! ( I’ll be in a yellow/blue BAC vest)
Ive been checking out your training on fetch, and it has truely been an amazing journey so far. i started marathon’s about 2 years ago now, starting with 3:21 @ Edinburgh 2009, and currently @ 2:53:52 after Inverness last year. Plan is to hopefully take 10 mins off a year! So next plan is 2:45 @ London this year.
In terms of training, what has helped you get your times reduced soo much? I am HR training for longer runs, Sub 70% MAXHR for recovery runs, sub 75% Max for general aerobic sessions, would be interesting to hear what you do?
Barry (bazp on fetch)
Looks like good progress Barry – good luck with your target at VLM. If I had to say one thing which has helped get my times down I would say “consistency”. If you can minimize the backward steps with time out from training then just putting in the consistent miles when you are new(ish) to running will always help. Your percentages look good to me, I also try and do at least one session a week where I’m putting a good few miles within one of my longer runs at my marathon HR (around 85%)., always seems to bring my fitness on no end
Hi Steve, I remember reading your story on Runners World last year and I always feel so pleased to see you at races leading on
I was there too at Mad March, first time I’ve done 20m, training for my first Marathon in London, all going to plan.
Glad things are going well in your build up to London as well. Hope you have a good 6 weeks training!
Been following your posts for a while – really admire the amount of work and thought that goes into your training. I wish I could train as half as hard as you! – i’m constantly troubled by little niggles and injuries – how do you keep things like that at bay?
Cheers Matt. I have my fair share of niggles to be honest, currently got a couple of “knots” in my calves which I’m hoping will sort themselves out with my cut back of miles in the taper and also my weekly sports massage helps to keep these things under control.
It also helps if you do all the boring stuff that no-one likes to do like core/strength exercises and post run stretching!
I guess the other key thing is that we are all individual and we all have different thresholds for how much mileage we can take, I seem to be able to suck up the miles quite easy but when I try and do really short/fast stuff that’s when I start to get issues – like my calves complaining about this weeks speed work!
Good luck with your training,
I’m 14 years old and run for Bournemouth and recently did my first 10k in 39:51. I want to take this time down too sub 38. Any advice on how many miles I should run a week to achieve this target?
Coz – I’d suggest that if you did 39:51 on your first attempt then just maintaining your current mileage will be sufficient for the moment. Consistency is the key to progress more than anything else. What mileage are you currently doing and how long have you been doing it for? (without any large breaks in training)
I’ve been running nearly a year now about 10 miles a week maximum.
Good luck Sunday by the way!
Hi Steve, I am 42 years old and when 15 used to run for Dorset and gave it up for fags and drinking. I have given up smokin after 25 years for 7 months now and i may have hit a mid life crisis as i started running again and joined Hamworthy Harriers to keep motivated. I did start because i got in the London Marathon for 2011 and hit a dissapointing 3.51 after hitting barrier at 18 miles. I have done 3 parkruns in Poole and pb last week was 19.53 after 2 attempts of sub 20. I wish i was there the week before as i could have said that i beat you when you pacemaked and came in at 20.02. I would just like to say that i follow your runs on Garmin as also i am on there and your times make my eyes water, how you do it is unbelievable and full respect to you and totally admire your determination. I have a question for you -On occasions i feel like going back to smoking and thinking maybe i am too old to start running again and i do like a glass of wine or 2 on nearly every evening. There has been times that i have trained with a hangover. How do you keep motivated and on the right track, do you eat well etc etc and how do you manage to stay away from the smokes and the drink and keep focused with the mileage that you do?
It is tough isn’t it! Probably not the right answer but the truth is I do still treat myself every now and then. When I’m not in the key 3-4 month build up phase before a target marathon I don’t worry too much about my diet, have the odd drink (although to be honest not really a drinker these days anyway) and I even treat myself to the odd cigar (monthly poker night!)
I find it quite easy to then “knuckle down” in the key phase before my target marathon because all thoughts are on getting the best out of myself for the big day.
The one thing I do all year round though is not have any “Can’t not be arsed” moments with my training, doesn’t matter how much I don’t feel like going for a run I always try and remember how depressed I get when I can’t run due to injury which normally gets me out the door. I also remind myself how good I feel when the miles are in the bag and the session is done.
Congrats on the sub 20 at the parkrun, won’t be there this weekend as I’m working all weekend in Manchester but will probably be down most weekends after that so say hi if you see me.
Steve, it’s Craig W from the big bank you used to work for. Great following the running career after all that healthy living you used to encourage
Need some advice. My wife has just started running and recently entered and finished her first 10k; not bad considering she’s not sporty at all on only put the pumps on 2 months ago. She wants to run a 15K in November and has her mind set on half marathon in H1 2012. Not sure she’s after speed at the moment but any advice how to build up on distance. Should she train up to 15K prior to the race or training runs over shorter distances. Any advice for us novices greatly appreciated. BTW keep going, making us all proud and inspiring a few more of us to get off the couch!!
What do you mean “Used to work for” – I saw you in Radbroke Hall a few weeks ago or have you forgotten!
Do you have some details of what training she did in order to do the 10k and I can perhaps give some advice based on that.
Steve, pleasure and an honour to meet you at parkrun yesterday, bit gutted i was pacemaking as i would have run with you and Lee and congrats on his super time sub 20. I have a question if you dont mind giving a bit of advice.
Last 2 months my legs have felt like an old man of about 80 before and after a run and i dont know if i am training too hard or not having enough rest days but when i look at your training schedule i cant understand why i feel this way because i do about a third of your mileage. I have about 1 day off a week and my 5km time is around 19.50. My easy runs however are around 7.40 mm which i know you will smile at as you can do that backwards. How many mm do you think i should do less than race pace for an easy run and how many am i supposed to do each week as it gets confusing looking at different training advice on RW.. which says i should be doing 8.07 3 times a week but it feels too slow and i end up doing 7.30mm. Should i follow this because 3 easy runs at 8.07 make me yawn on occasions, and one last question, does parkrun count as a tempo run in my weekly schedule as it says i have to do one per week.
Nice to meet you too Mark ……briefly!
I also feel like an old man most of the time as well, my morning walk to the bathroom is a slow and painful experience!
I would suggest though that you can slow down your easy runs, mine come out anywhere between 7:30mm and 6:30mm depending on how i feel which means even when I’m at my fastest they are still marathon pace +75s I would suggest just over 8mm pace is about right, if it seems boring then just think about how fresh you are going to feel for those tougher sessions!
The parkrun only counts as a tempo run if you run it at your threshold pace ( 10k – 10mile race pace for a 20min 5k runner) so it depends how controlled you can be in the race. If you race it flat out then you will be above your lactate threshold point and you will be working a different system.
3 times a week for your easy runs sounds about right if you are running 6 days a week.
Hi Steve! I’ve been meaning to write to you here on your webpage for quite some time, but only got around to it now – guess I’ve been out running instead I’ve been following your great accomplishments for the last couple of years, and have been doing much of the same training as you for my last marathon in Amsterdam this october – although I ‘only’ managed to get around to 80-90 miles pr week and never achieved the epic MP-effort runs that I reckon is the cornerstone of your training, but still a quite similar Lydiard-inspired build-up. Ran a respectable 2.45, but feel I can do so much better. I’m the same background as you – an overweight smoker that started running 2 ½ years ago at the age of 32 and quickly got into decent shape. Now I’m aiming for Copenhagen in may 2012 and I’ll continue following your great updates as I’ve really come to realize what a great inspiration you are and have been to me. Will try to follow your 10 mile MP tempo run each week, do some more Half-marathon pace/MP efforts in my club on tuesdays + up the mileage to 100-110 mpw and see where that gets me come may. Cheers mate!
Morten from Esbjerg in Denmark
Sounds like we could be twins Morten! It appears you respond well to the same type of training as I do, it’s a long hard slog but you reap the benefits In the end. Good luck with your increased training, keep me posted on your progress as copenhagen approaches.
Dude, awesome run at London. Keep fighting for it! Sub 2.18.00 can be done, I have the same goal in 2012. PR is currently close to yours at 2.19.35. Nate
Hi Steve, how long after waking up do you take your RHR ?
At the moment I’m not really tracking it but I do tend to see what it settles to before I go out for me run to check it’s not out of the ordinary. Used to record it every Sunday morning, come downstairs straight after I get up before I go for my long run. I would stick the Garmin on before I get out of bed but would wake the misses up with all the beeps
Great blog Steve, I was unfortunately not selected for this years VLM…
However I am still trying to lose a bit of weight and hope one day to be able to say I have completed the London Marathon..
I am too an ex-smoker and also an ex-drinker, trying to run my way to a healthier lifestyle… If you ever want to add a guest blog to my site Fitness Blogger UK just let me know..
Please feel free to come and have a look…
Health and Fitness Blogs
James Davis AKA The Fitness Blogger
Hello again steve, I still check you website daily looking at your times and now your team mates. Question, how do you keep on top of your 5k speed? also when you combine a run with the parkrun do you STOP for a couple of minutes to scan your barcode then move on?
Are you running bath this year? Thanks JK
Hi James, to be honest Idon’t really keep on top of the shorter stuff when I’m marathon training. To put it into perspective, my parkrun time on Saturday is only just faster than my half marathon PB pace Don’t really worry about it too much though as 5k has never been my strongest distance anyway! …..and yes I normally stop after the parkrun for around 5min to just get my breath back and sort out the barcode stuff before I carry on with the run, don’t think it makes too much difference to be honest as long as you don’t leave it too long for your legs to start tightening up. Cheers, Steve
Hi Steve … i just want to say i think your great and good luck at the London marathon i think your an inspiration ,you inspire me and my running friends !!! Andrea
Your website is inspirational and makes me more often to go out and run!
But tell me how do you cope with lacks of motivation at times? I am running less miles than you and at the end of some long runs I sometimes prefer to be already at home…
BTW how many miles have you already run this year?!
Thanks and good luck
Thanks – motivation for me comes from having that target A race to focus on. It’s what gets me out for every run – if I don’t I won’t have a chance of breaking that 21:19:37 PB. I also remind myself of the nice holiday I have planned started the day after VLM
Miles for the year so far is pretty much dead on 1500 – not as many as 2010 when by the time I was probably closer to 1800 I think. I’ve had quite a few cut back weeks this time due to one reason or another.
Marigold! Just googling around for you here, as the talk was of marathons. Didn’t realise you were so famous. All for a little light jogging as well…
Bloody good luck on Sunday. What time are you hoping for?
He he …. Cheers Mr Crofts hope it feels like light jogging on Sunday! Anything faster than my PB will do (2:19:38) will be heading off at around 2:18 pace.
Keep an eye out for a twat with bleached yellow hair and a yellow Bournemouth ac vest on the telly box
Well done on VLM2012 a pb makes all the hard work worth while I’m after some advice really cos I can totally relate to where you have come from to where you are now. I started running about 18 months ago at 16 stone to loose weight. Did the VLM2011 in 5.30hrs (real hard work) have just done the Milton Keynes Marathon in 4.09 after losing 2 stone so have made some progress averaging 30mpw.
My goal is to go sub 3 hours. The main questions I’m asking myself are 1) should I join a running club to run with other people to push myself – at the moment I get my training plan from http://www.fullpotential.co.uk online but I could so with some company on the Sunday LR. 2) was losing weight the biggest factor in how you started to run quicker miles ? 3) any other advice you could give me would be really appreciated!
apologies for the long essay….. and well done again !
1) Definitely yes! Best thing I did was join Bournemouth AC, running is always better with company and you make a whole new set of friends as a bonus
2) Lossing weight got me my first big step in the first 6 months but then all my continued progress over the last 3-4 years has come from just keeping up the consistent training and gradually increasing the mileage.
3)To be honest it looks like you are already making good progress going from 5.30 – 4.09. As I said before if you have the patience and the commitment to keep putting in the consistent training you will see the rewards. There are no secrets in the world of marathon running, hard work = results
Thanks Steve – really appreciate your advice
Who drafts your training schedule – are you self coached or someone in the running club?!
Self coached but listen carefully when anyone offers advice
Self-coached running 2:19 is not that bad^^
Hi Steve, truly inspirational stuff here. Congratulations on your superb time at VLM. Just a quick question: have you always been a good runner? Or have you simply put in the time and effort to achieve these results?
I find it incredible to think through hard work and determination you have achieved these results.
Keep up the good work.
Cheers Gary. I think it’s a bit a both really. Didn’t start running properly until I was 33 but even when I was fat and unfit I was still able to go for an hour run without stopping. The continued progression comes from the hard work and consistency though for the last 4-5years. Just hope a bit more hard work will get me a bit faster as well
Firstly Steve I came across your page by mistake. I was looking up on info for the Boddington 50k and came across your time for 50k earlier in the year, mind blowing time. I’m just hoping to get under 3:20……….But having read your profile you put me to shame, and shows that I could and can do more. I ran my first marathon last week in 2:53:18, I was on for 2:40 or 2:44 at worst, but died a death in the last 7miles. Got to 10miles in 59.48, 20miles in 62.48 and took me 50min to run last 10k. Just to give you an idea of my times. 4 mile 21.11, 5mile 26.40, 10k 33.30, 10mile 54, hm 74, but I can see where I’m going wrong. I run 50miles a week maybe 60 most of the year. But my pace would nearly always be 6.15-6.30 a mile, the odd fartlek session 5.40 -5.50 a mile, and easy long run around 6.40-6.50. Would I be right in saying I need to increase my mileage, take 3 easy paced days but train 1 or 2 days above race pace (intervals) and 1 day at HM pace over 10mile -18 or so??
Any advice would be welcomed………………………………..
I wouldn’t suggest running 18 miles at HM pace
Up’ing you mileage would be a natural progression but don’t just jump from 50/60 miles to 80/90 miles overnight otherwise it will end in injury. I would suggest a gradual increase and as you say, you need to drop your pace on a number of your runs to accommodate the increase in mileage. By the looks of it you run nearly all your miles at marathon pace or faster (although it has to be said based on your other times over shorter distances your marathon PB is the weakest) so I would add some runs in there at more like 7m/m pace.
Take a look at my weekly training summaries from March this year when I was in proper marathon training to get an idea of what my weekly structure was like
Lots of miles considerably slower than MP but also some key runs each week including a combination of MP and faster intervals. These key runs also end up being long runs as well normally in the 17-20 mile range. Where possible on Sunday’s I have used races to run my tough sessions in like the “Mad March 20″
Good luck at Boddington, 50k is a long old way – start steady!
Thanks for the advice, and ill be taking it very easy in the 50k early on.
forgot to run this also by you. I see you really take your heart rate seriously on your runs. I tried it for 2 weeks, but got sick of it. The reason for this was that I was nearly at walking pass if I had to run at 70-75% of target heart rate. When I ran in terms of how I was feeling and controlling my pace I enjoyed my runs alot more, body felt good even though I would have a higher heart rate.
Sounds like you may not have your max heart rate right. How did you decide on your max HR, calculation ordeal life test? If it’s the former then it’s almost certainly wrong!
75% Max HR form normally works out at around marathon pace + 1 min/mile so certainly not walking pace.
Am full of respect to your efforts, what yearly (2010-2012) mileage does it take to run that fast??
Was the 2:19 in 2010 your 2nd marathon after the 3:xx jogging?!
Wish you good legspeed velocity all the time
Mileage has been
2008 – 2946
2009 – 3601
2010 – 4784
2011 – 3615 (quite a few injuries)
2012 – so far 2213
Marathon progression :
2008 – 2:35 (twice)
2009 – 2:25
2010 – 2:19:37 (and then 2:23 in the autumn)
2011 – 2:19:38
2012 – 2:19:04
Is there any diet which supports your great running?!
Would be really interesting to know, what makes you flying…
No secret diet I’m afraid. When I’m in the period around 2 months before my target race I try and be as heathly as possible with low fat foods, fresh fruit and veg and minimum amount of unhealthy snacks but during the rest of the year I am quite bad with my food and quite often end up having takeaways!! (Pizza and Thai food my favourites )
Hello steve, met you at Bramley 2011, I have followed your blogs every day for as long as you have been blogging . I am a keen runner myself and use your updates/reviews as something to motivate me with. Everyone has there views on you and sometimes I think ie pre VLM 2012 your mileage at times is perhaps a little quantity over quality ! But it seems lately that you really have started to progress further to the next level putting in really really good sessions and perhaps not getting too hung up on mileage !! Any Way keep it going and when you run those horrible cold winter runs late at night think of us looking at your garmin times as we in turn use that to motivate us. Cheers
Cheers James, glad I’m keeping you motivated and entertained Long wet day at the relays today, promise I’ll get this weeks blog up tomorrow! You’ll be glad to hear I only ran 6 miles today
I’m part of the organization of Strasimeno ultramarathon and we are inviting top runners for the next edition (2013) of our competition, if you are interested could you please give me your email to send all the details?
Thank you very much for the offer but I’m afriad I already have plans to do the London Marathon again in 2013 which would clash as it’s in April.
good luck for London and keep the invitation for the next year
Fantastic Steve I think you’ve just won 50k world champs. Brilliant stuff and you deserve it.
Fantastic achievement and congrats on becoming a world champ. Hopefully see u sat at parkrun and back to normality. p.s. bet u a fiver i could beat you over 50 metres
Im on tail runner duty at the parkrun on Sat so you will beat me over 5k as well
Hi Steve, Congratulations on a storming run to become 50K world champ! Just a quickie, what sort of hydration strategy do you stick to during these distances? I’m curious to hear from an elite racer who is unlikely to be chugging water at the rates some of the sports drinks manufacturers seem to think you need to drink. I’m a slow ultra-distance runner so this type of info from the speedsters is gold
Hi Grant. The plan was to have a 500ml bottle of water and 1 SIS GO Gel on each lap (6.25km) and that was for both consumption and chucking over my head. I would estimate that I probably only drank around 200ml of each bottle and the rest I used to keep me cool. For 1 of the bottles I had SIS PSP 22 sports drink instead of water but to be honest I couldn’t stomach it by the time I tried to drink it on lap 5. I also only managed to get 5 of the Gels in me before I couldn’t stomach any more of that either.
So the total was probably
Water Drunk – 6 x 200ml = 1.2 litres
SIS Go Gels – 5
Water poured over head – 6 x 300ml = 1.8 litres
I first heard about you from Simon Freeman, friend of mine who I met on a train journey in Switzerland this year, coming back from a race. I just wanted to say that what you’ve achieved is absolutely incredible and that you are a great inspiration. Also massive congratulations on becoming a world champion, simply incredible!
I got into running in January this year and I’ve managed to shave off 49 mins so far. I ran Barcelona in March in 3:46, 6 marathons (mostly in the Alps) later and I ran Berlin in Sept in 2:57 . I am super determined to continue training and see how far I get. I have just started working in Bournemouth, at Chaseside, and I will soon be joining Bournemouth AC. I am really looking forward to meeting you. Hope your training is going to plan.
Excellent Manol! Looking forward to meeting you Just come down to any of our club runs, Tuesday evening at 18:00 is our biggest club run of the week meeting in the Kings Park stadium car park so just pop along and introduce yourself – sounds like you have great potential with that marathon improvement!
Keen to have a chat with you re your 50k running achievements. I am the Sport Editor at the Bournemouth Rock paper.
Would appreciate your time.
M – 07837279589
E – firstname.lastname@example.org
T – @benfishermedia
Your results and especially the +10km yesterday are amazing and a role model for many others, including my humble person…
What job or profession does you allow to follow the sport that ambitiously?!
Cheers! I used to do a stressful I.T job which was really long hours but ingot in the way of training so I managed to find a 9-5 office job in a bank which is a lot more suitable for training twice a day!
I just discovered this site and it is extremely inspirational. I’ve been running for 2.5 years. I went from not being able to run a mile, to training for the NYC Marathon in 2010 and running in 4:31:45, to running Chicago in 2012 in 3:14. I lost 4 stone but would like to lose a bit more. My next target is to BQ in NYC 2013.
Quick couple of questions (got to hear about you on marathon talk and followed you ever since) 1. Do you supplement your running with any cross training/weights/strength,or is it all running??2.Knowing what you know now,how relevant/real was the p&d advanced marathoner and would it help “plodders like myself” who want to move up several levels?
Keep up the excellent blog and good luck in london
Just running I’m afraid. ALl that other good stuff probably would help but I really struggle to motivate myself to do any of it as I don’t enjoy it! I do try and do some basic core exercise routines purely for injury prevention and to try and keep my pelvis alignment/strength up straight but that is about it.
Regarding the Advanced Marathoning schedules, I would say they are very relevant and you will get a lot closer to your potential by following them. In fact you can build up through their various mileage levels to progress nicely each marathon cycle. To be honest, any well structured plan like that will do a great job as it is the consistency and mileage that will get you those improvements. Only when you are getting close to your potential do you really need to be fine tuning the details with your own personal plans taking from your previous experience and knowledge of what your own body responds to best.
Steve you are a legend and a source of great inspiration! Followed you for a while now. Just want to thank you for being a gracious runner, see you out whilst running often and you always say hello despite never having met me. Ran Brighton in windy conditions on Sunday after having started running last jan to come home in 2 hour 52. Really chuffed, but not sure where to go from here; never been to running club..would it really help? Good luck on Sunday we’ll be rooting for you cheers david
Thanks Dave! A “runners nod” costs nothing so I like to be polite congrats on the big sub 3 , in those conditions having only started last Jan that’s an impressive performance! now rest and recover for a few weeks and ill see you down Kings Park for a BAC session on a Tuesday night in the not too distant future – you know it makes sense!
After the rather short VLM ´13 – what´s the next target?
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